How much fish do we kill when we go fishing?

August 23, 2018
There are several reports that estimate the amount of fish killed in the process of fishing. Mortality rates depend on the method used. Bulk harvesting methods such as trawling and Danish seines have the biggest impact. The mortality rate of undersized snapper caught and discarded by trawlers is over 90%. This could equate to as much as 20% of the snapper catch by weight. Since 1994 the Ministry (for Primary Industries) and industry have concealed a report that estimates the snapper mortality rate associated with trawling. We continue to press for the release of this report. Prior to the 2013 management changes, recreational fishers were estimated to kill between 3.6 to 7.5% of their snapper catch, by weight not numbers. A report describing the size and condition of snapper caught by recreational fishers is here. LegaSea encourages recreational fishers to employ best practice when fishing: any fish being kept for eating needs to be killed and chilled ASAP, use large hooks 7/0 or 8/0s, use large baits or soft baits or jigs that lip hook fish, use appendage hooks, use circle hooks and move away from areas holding large numbers of small fish. Fish for the future. LegaSea promotes a ban of trawling inside the 100m depth contour, to protect sensitive and nursery areas and to prevent small fish being killed and discarded.